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Author: Rob Brooks

Dynamite In Small Packages

I’m hard on the throttle exiting the wide sweeping curve known as “The Bowl”, trying to click up through the gears as fast as possible before the brake/downshift zone and the left hairpin that is turn 1. As I drift wide so as to dive deep into turn 1’s apex, an 11-year old named Cooper undercuts me on the inside, passing me on a 110cc Ohvale like I’m standing still. “That kid’s good,” I muse to myself as he rockets away down the back straight.

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Legendary Bikes: The Flying Merkel

The first time I ever beheld a Flying Merkel up close was at the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama during the annual Vintage Festival they host every October. In a large side room where a Bonham’s auction would soon be staged, the bright orange machine arrested my attention, and I stood transfixed by this beautiful 100+ year old motorcycle. I’ve no idea what the bike later fetched on the auction block, but I’ve read they can go for well over $100K in good or restored condition. It’s easy to understand why, when the history of the brand is explored.

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Motorcycle Gear: OneX USA Pro Race Gloves

The human hand is an extraordinary engineering marvel. A complex structure of three types of bones (phalanges in the fingers, metacarpals in the palms, carpals in the wrists), and a plethora of nerves, tendons, ligaments, and joints wrapped in several variations of skin, our hands grant us the ability to quite literally shape our world and our lives. Yet we’ve seen so many motorcycle riders neglect their most important tactile riding appendages with cheap gloves, fingerless gloves, or no gloves at all. We should always be wearing solid protective gear, and our “grippers” deserve no less.

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On Track with Yamaha’s 2022 XSR900

Exiting turn 7 at the top of the track some racers call “the North Georgia rollercoaster”, I’m hard on the throttle as the XSR900 uprights, and clicking up through the gears as I rocket down the long, undulating back straight of this famous course, the Yamaha triple howling down the hill. Road Atlanta is legendary for its highly challenging layout, which winds up and down a hillside that could easily have been a ski slope in colder climates of the country. From the tight twisty “Esses” after climbing turn 1, to turns 6-7 at the pinnacle, down the long back stretch to the 45 degree pairings of 10A and 10B, then floating the front up under the bridge before the free fall to turn 12 and the front straight, Road Atlanta is a wild ride of technical curves and elevation changes.
And here we were putting the 2022 Yamaha XSR900 through its paces.

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Legendary Bikes- Christian Sarron’s Yamaha YZR500

The old adage, “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” was practically a mantra for motorcycle brands and their dealerships back in the 1970s-1990s. With the popularity of motorcycles here Stateside and the sell-out crowds at motorcycle races, the manufacturers often developed race bikes then would incorporate what they observed and learned into their street legal machines. Even the livery of their factory race motorcycles would be painted on street (and dirt) bikes, making them even more desirable to potential buyers. Cases in point- the HRC Repsol Honda replicas, the Kenny Roberts Yamaha paint schemes, among others. The brands still do that occasionally today, with the “Ago Superveloce”, Suzuki’s MotoGP Winners series, and the 2022 Yamaha XSR900, a throwback to the factory YZR500 two-stroke French rider Christian Sarron raced in the late 1980s.

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Riding The Storm Out

If you ride motorcycles long enough, you’ll either find yourself caught in a storm, or you’ll find yourself with no choice but to ride through one. Either way, “riding the storm out” (props to REO Speedwagon’s classic tune) is a common experience we eventually all share. And as with many experiences out on the road, we often recall it with a smile we didn’t wear in the middle of it. Ted calls that, “Type II Fun.”

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Into The Woods With A Honda Pioneer 1000

So here I am, deep in the woods on miles of mountainous Tennessee trails, bouncing/banging around in Honda’s all-purpose UTV. These trails, of which there are over 600 miles criss-crossing this portion of the state, would be entertaining for trials motorcycle riders. We are climbing over rock formations, negotiating deep gullies, fording mountain streams and large mud puddles, and climbing up/down steep mountain trails.
I’ve never done anything like this before. And I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

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Wayne Rainey Rides Again

Our respect and admiration for Wayne Rainey went through the roof over this past weekend when we learned of his amazing feat at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, held yearly in Sussex, England. The three time 500cc Grand Prix world champion (1990-92) was reunited with his 1992 championship-winning YZR500, and in fact rode the historic machine multiple times around the famed Goodwood course over the festival weekend.

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